Why San Diego State is a legit contender 

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
12:51
PM ET
Xavier ThamesJayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsSan Diego State guard Xavier Thames is averaging 17.7 points per game this season.
When Steve Fisher took over at San Diego State in 1999, the school simply had a basketball team. Now it boasts one of the best programs in the West. It has one of the elite home-court advantages in the nation and a tremendous sense of ownership from both its student body and community.

Fisher and his staff have done a great job evaluating and recruiting tough, hard-nosed players who defend and rebound. This season’s No. 6 Aztecs are no different from the recent Kawhi Leonard and Jamaal Franklin teams, and they are once again poised to receive a high seed and make a run in the NCAA tournament.

Up next for the 22-2 Aztecs will be a tough test against Utah State on Tuesday night (11 ET, ESPNU/WatchESPN). What can the Aggies expect to face?

Here's an examination of SDSU's key strengths followed by a breakdown of its roster and NCAA tourney outlook.